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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/133

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

suits inspires a contempt for industrial pursuits and gives birth to a feeling of superiority over the people engaged in them we see to-day in France and Germany. In those countries it has come to such a pass that civilians are regarded as almost without rights, since an officer imagining himself insulted may run them through with his sword, and as having no other function in the economy of the world but to work for their masters. In Spain during the years of her greatest military activity these feelings of a barbarian reached an intensity that can not now be realized. The only occupation outside of killing and plundering enemies either in Europe or America that a gentleman could follow was a career as a churchman or as an official in the home or colonial administration. "Public offices," says Henry C. Lea, describing the results of this absurd belief, "were multiplied recklessly, and the steady increase in the ranks of the clergy, regular and secular, was a constant subject of remonstrance. In 1626 Navarette tells us that there were thirty-two universities and more than four thousand grammar schools crowded with sons of artisans and peasants striving to fit themselves for public office or holy orders. Most of them failed in this through inaptitude, and drifted into the swarms of tramps and beggars who were a standing curse to the community." Hence the abnormal proportions of the ecclesiastical and bureaucratic establishments; hence also the almost total failure to develop the great natural resources of the country; hence, finally, the unprosperous condition of the industries not crushed out of existence by the regulations of the official parasites.

To many people the callousness of Spaniards to suffering and their disregard of the rights of others have seemed the greatest mystery. Why is it that they still cling so tenaciously to the pleasures of the bull ring? Why was it that they appeared so indifferent to the miseries of the Cuban reconcentrados? In the light of the influence of war on the sympathies these questions present no difficulty. Clear also does it become why the Spaniards possess as little patriotism as the Chinese. Training for centuries in the belief that the most honorable occupation is the killing and plundering of enemies or the filling of positions in church and state that obviate the necessity of earning a livelihood by honest toil is not fitted to inspire a keen sense of justice or a lively fellow-feeling. When people have been plundered for centuries by a greedy bureaucratic despotism they can not persuade themselves that it is their duty to protect their oppressors from foreign or domestic assailants. What they are most interested in is an opportunity to get a living. Whether the honor of their country is at stake, or whether there is threatened the loss of the last remnant of a colonial empire that has cost them blood and treasure beyond estimate, they are certain to be as indifferent as the victims of a slave driver to the misfortunes that have overtaken him.

Some friends of Spain have been inclined to regard the loss of these colonies as the culmination of her misfortunes. We can not but regard it as the beginning of better days. Although Spain has not been engaged in war on an extensive scale for a long time, her efforts to retain the control of a people anxious to be delivered from her incapacity and despotism have tended to keep alive the barbarous feelings and traditions of the past. The Cubans and Porto Ricans were not governed for their own benefit like the colonists of